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Yomiuri Giants: Ochi and Kobayashi to start season as closers?

by on Feb.12, 2010 @ 4:44 pm, under NPB, Spring Camp

=== 2/13/2010 12:53am JST

...Seung-Yeop Lee has been mired in a major funk.  And it seems he may have been trying to do too much.  Lee is  apparently looking much better now at the plate and is also working on a new stance that's supposedly much simpler.  He told reporters that he's finally hitting the ball the way he wants to.

...Ikusei player Atsushi Yachida is hoping he'll get Valentine's Day chocolates from at least 30 women this year, despite never receiving chocolates in the double-digits the last two years.  (You'd think reporters would have better things to write about...  eep!)

=== 11:32pm JST

...Kentaro Nishimura was warned by Shinnosuke Abe that he was tipping his slider during a bullpen session on Friday.  Nishimura was apparently grimacing only when he threw his slider.

...Marc Kroon played some more catch on Friday, throwing the ball around 30 times at a distance of 20m.  He told reporters that he currently has no schedule and will be taking things one day at a time.

...Tomoya Ichikawa will be  making his "debut" at an intra-squad practice game on the 13th.  He will be playing for the Group B team.

=== 2/12/2010 4:44pm JST

...The Giants showed off their new road aluminum gray uniforms on Thursday.  The only difference between this year's road uniforms and last year's road uniforms is the color.  You can check out the new road unis at the official Yomiuri Giants' site.

...Tetsuya Utsumi threw 53 pitches (including his new cutter) during BP on Thursday and faced Yoshiyuki Kamei and Hayato Sakamoto.  He also tried throwing from both the wind and the set positions.

Sakamoto took 13 swings against Utsumi and recorded 5 could-be hits.

...The Giants don't think Marc Kroon will be ready for the start of the season.  They also don't want him to feel rushed.  To that end, they will likely go with the tandem of Daisuke Ochi and Masahide Kobayashi as closers to start the season.

Kobayashi threw 50 pitches (including his fork) during a bullpen session on Thursday.

...Isao Harimoto watched Hisayoshi Chono during BP on Thursday and had the following advice for him:

On hitting inside pitches: according to Harimoto, Chono is swinging the bat level on every pitch, regardless of where the ball is in the strike zone.  Harimoto feels Chono needs to attack balls on the inside corner with a swing that isn't quite as level, otherwise he won't get good wood on the ball.

On batting grips: according to Harimoto, Chono is fidgeting with his fingers too much and needs to work on gripping the bat without too much or too little strength (just enough to keep hold of a little bird).  Harimoto feels a bad grip won't allow him to make solid contact on fast pitches.

...Chono will be making his "debut" on the 13th (intra-squad practice game) and start in right and bat third.  He went 1-for-2 during a simulated game on Thursday.

...Taishi Ohta will also be playing in the game on the 13th and will start at third and bat clean-up.  Both Ohta and Chono worked out at Group B camp on Thursday.

...The Group B team will start Daisuke Nakai at third, batting third, and Daijiro Tanaka at first, batting fourth for the intra-squad practice game on the 13th.